Here’s a pop quiz to start the school year.
Q. In 2016, candidate Donald Trump stated,“Right now, (Barack) Obama goes around signing executive orders. … It’s a basic disaster. You can’t do it.” Who has averaged more executive orders — Obama or Trump?
A. Obama issued 276 executive orders (34.5 annual average over eight years). Through July 24, Trump had issued 172 (49.1 annual average over 3.5 years).
Q. During 2019, according to factbase.com, Trump accused Democrats of being “socialist” or advocating “socialism” more than 100 times. He recently signed an executive order to defer payroll taxes until the end of 2020 while providing $400 week for unemployment insurance ($100 from states). What do payroll taxes fund?
A. Social Security and Medicare — examples of government socialism, as is unemployment insurance.
Q. Payroll taxes include 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare, matched by employers. How much can you expect to save with Trump’s executive order?
A. Probably nothing, according to most experts. In the long run, funds would have to be repaid, unless the cut is permanent, as Trump proposes. In the short term, employers won’t want to withhold the money and become liable for repayment if it flunks legal muster.
Q. Republican and Democratic leaders oppose deferring the payroll tax. Why?
A. Social Security has reserves of $2.9 trillion. The tax raises $1 trillion annually. As Nancy Altman of the nonpartisan Social Security Works told CNBC, “If (Trump) throws it until the end of 2023, then benefits will stop, because there’s not enough money in the accumulated reserve.” Trump would be “defunding” socialism, although running up lots more debt is an option.
Q. Trump tweeted 27 times about Obama constantly on the golf “coarse.” (OK, he misspelled it once.) Who played more?
A. According to golfnetnews, Trump visited his golf courses 276 times in 3.5 years. Obama played 333 rounds in eight years. An itemized list at presidentialgolftracker.com puts our tab for Trump’s outings at $105 million. Forbes, Business Insider tallies are similar. Obama played more basketball.
Q. Name political women Trump has called (1) nasty (2) stupid (3) weak (4) fool (5) crazy?
A. (1) Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton (2, 3) former British Prime Minister Theresa May (4) German Chancellor Angela Merkel (5) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Other women are “horseface,” “lowlife,” “fat” and “ugly.” Winning over suburban housewives, no doubt.
Q. Name strongmen Trump has called (1) great (2) unbelievable (3) fantastic (4) terrific?
A. (1) Chinese President Xi Jinping (1, 2) Russian President Vladimir Putin (3) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (4) Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump also has quoted Italian fascist Benito Mussolini, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
Q. Finally, when did World War II end? 1. 1066 2. 1865. 3. 1917 4. 1945. According to Trump, it was 1917. (Joe Biden is “too feeble” to know.)
Saul Shapiro is the retired editor of The Courier, living in Cedar Falls.
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